Originally posted on LinkedIn
John Wanamaker would have loved the 21st century. He would have especially loved the transfer to Digital that seems to be so difficult for so many businesses and agencies, some of whom still actively reject digital methodologies internally even when they claim to be digital agencies. Sounds nuts right? But the truth is that a lot of “digital agencies” apply the old agency model to Digital Marketing and they are wasting shed-loads of their clients cash when they do. Some companies are so wedded to the old way of doing things that even when they are presented with their own data of where their new business comes from they find it difficult to let go. The thing is the old agency model is what Jon Wanamaker was talking about and that no longer applies to a lot of your advertising and marketing. Digital methodologies disrupt or augment almost every type of marketing effort you now participate in, giving you measurable data points that you can tie to the bottom line. That’s right, directly to the bottom line, not some proxy feel good number that may or not be relevant.
It’s all Digital now baby!
Let’s get one thing straight. Digital is in the middle of everything now. If it isn’t you are probably going to die, and fast (unless you’re very small and not interested in growing). The reason is captured beautifully by the inverse of John Wanamaker’s famous quote. You still don’t know which half of your advertising or marketing budget is wasted but your competitors do. Measurement and attribution are coming to advertising faster than you can imagine and it’s the digital guys who understand this better than anyone.
Testing, Attribution, Contribution and Measurement
10 years ago this year we lost Peter Drucker. He left us a great quote that applies to marketing in a way it never has before.
“What gets measured gets managed. “
We are in a moment when the ability to measure responses and attribute revenue to different marketing efforts has never been greater. (We can also now more clearly attribute loss of revenue through measurement and analysis but that’s another ball of wax.) I encourage you to think about what that means for your marketing budget. We can show what’s making you money and what isn’t. Not only that there is an effect but also what the effect is, how big it is, where it’s coming from and whether it’s worth the cost. And we have only scratched the surface so far, it’s only going to get more accurate.
As we learn more and more about the movement and experience of consumers we’ll start to see how many times they have seen our message and what actions they take related to it and when. The idea of using different digitally measurable contact points to measure response rate to different ads is now old. Whether it’s using different phone numbers on different mediums or simply a different contact link or website, this is becoming standard practice. Facial recognition software is already being deployed to gauge facial expressions on ad engagement and adjusting ads on that basis. And if Googles Doubleclick’s foray into outdoor proves successful then we could be on the brink of a revolution in the way advertising is purchased and measured in the most traditional of advertising mediums. It’s a sign of what’s coming.
More powerful and more simple analytics tools
Analytics platforms are developing fast and are starting to give a top to bottom view of a whole business, if that business is online retail. For everyone else there are various types of disconnects between their marketing stack, sales functions, deal closing and payment that make measurement and attribution more difficult to track. They are also connecting the dots on how much any aspect of marketing contributes to lead generation.
The really clever organisations are already connecting up this data internally to get a more complete picture of what is happening throughout their organisation and helping to guide their marketing and other investment based on real data. There are always clever clogs (like me) who can compare and blend data sets from multiple sources to see trends and produce models to maximise value. The really clever analytics and data analysis companies are the ones that will provide the tools for them to do this simply and powerfully. This will cause a democratisation of data based KPIs for the organisation.
Never mind knowing where leads come from or whether leads turn into deals. Imagine if you could get ahead of the curve on which part of your marketing spend produced leads that ended up being delinquent payers beyond 90 days? Perhaps that isn’t even a data trend that would emerge.
Who knows what the data will tell you? But can your organisation afford to remain analogue in an increasingly digital world? Can you afford to allow marketing budget to be wasted by those who can’t or won’t commit themselves to proper testing, measurement and attribution? If you are just remember that John Wanamaker is turning in his grave. 🙂